Soon after Licia Chaney’s daughter, Brandi, died from ovarian cancer at 30, she found herself sitting at LSU coach Beth Torina’s inaugural Strike Out Ovarian Cancer fundraiser softball game.
“My mother is a six-year survivor,” Torina said, and seeing her mother go through the treatment process made her want to do something to help. She soon discovered the many ways she could help — everything from grants for treatment costs to prevention education.
The game was the first step toward funding those programs, and Chaney was so moved by the effort that she contacted Torina right away.
Her own daughter was diagnosed at 29, but had been misdiagnosed with gall bladder stones, then kidney stones for the first 6 months she had symptoms. Chaney learned that was very common, both because of Brandi’s age at the time and the fact that the most prevalent symptoms — bloating, abdominal discomfort and nausea — often are mistaken for more common and less serious conditions.
Over email, the two women decided to start their own nonprofit, Geaux Teal, and four years later, they’re still at it, and they’re joined by others touched by ovarian cancer, like Jennette Montgomery, a 6-year survivor.She was misdiagnosed at first with indigestion.
“It’s scary,” Chaney said. “It’s so easy to misdiagnose, and the symptoms are so common for women. I have other daughters, and I want them to be safe.”
Chaney and Montgomery were among the two volunteers posted outside the Geaux Teal game between East Ascension High School and Ascension Catholic’s softball team, handing out information, talking to people about their stories and signing volunteers up for the organization’s biggest fundraiser, the Geaux Teal Ovarian Cancer Walk, scheduled for 10 a.m. April 23.
There also are several ongoing fundraisers at area restaurants this month supporting Geaux Teal, Montgomery said, including Teal Tuesdays at Walk On’s on Burbank Drive. Ten percent of the cost of a meal will go to Geaux Teal for every customer who presents a Geaux Teal flier.
“This affects women of all ages, even very young women,” Montgomery said.
“We need to let people know,” Chaney said.